(BROOKLYN – March 17, 2016) – Congratulations to yesterday’s honorees recognized at Black Wall Street BROOKLYN, held at the Weeksville Heritage Center at 158 Buffalo Avenue in Brooklyn, NY.
We Promote Women
Weeksville Heritage Center
Patricia Symonds Powell
Sharon “LaLoca” Montero
Dr. Barbara “Roxie” DeLaleu
Charles Love and also on in Memory of Brother Jitu Weusi.
Ladies and gentlemen, I cannot reiterate it enough: We are all we’ve got. There is no cavalry coming. There is no wand that can be waved. If it is to be, then it is up to you and me. That’s it.
Today, one lesson that resounded loudly is that we have so much incredibly rich history that is often hidden, and as was evident today, sometimes hidden in plain view.
We fellowshiped at the Weeksville Heritage Center with friends and gained a magnanimous history lesson right in the heart of Brooklyn. These small buildings from the 1800s give visitors a glance into the past and what it must have been like for black folks.
New York was a northern town and thus slavery ended sooner there than in other places in the country, like the south.
According to Wikipedia: “The state passed a 1799 law for gradual abolition; after that date, children born to slave mothers were free but required to work for the mother’s master for an extended period as indentured servants into their late twenties. Existing slaves kept their status. All remaining slaves were finally freed on July 4, 1827.”
That’s when James Weeks came on the scene in 1838. He wanted to vote, and in order to do that, one had to own property. As the story goes, Weeks purchased a large parcel of land from another free black, Henry C. Thompson.
According to BlackPast.org, “The community was known for employing blacks in urban occupations and it was a community where black doctors, professionals, and entrepreneurs were able to practice skills and develop clientele. Weeksville residents established churches, schools, benevolent associations, an elderly home, and had an orphanage by the 1860s. In addition to housing a variety of black-owned businesses, Weeksville saw the creation of The Freedman’s Torchlight, of one of the country’s first African-American newspapers” (See more at: http://www.blackpast.org/aah/weeksville-new-york-1838#sthash.UtlvpAtE.dpuf).
In short, the ORIGINAL Black Wall Street SERIES *NYC *MD *DC *ATL *NOLA has expanded to yet another pinnacle. Today, the attendees – about 13 or so – were fed. For the New Yorkers present, it was so amazing to see the looks on their faces as they learned about this wonderful treasure.
I am so reminded of how rich our history is and the legacies we all can be proud of as we step into the future.
It is the hope that this ongoing business networking series, now in its 5th year, will continue to pay homage to the 600 black businesses destroyed in Tulsa in 1921.
From Weeksville – which is present day Bedford-Stuyvesant – to Tulsa to everywhere black communities exist, please support black business. Black businesses are most likely to hire black folks. And then, also support businesses who hire black folks. It only makes common sense.
I’ll say it until I’m blue in the face, we have one trillion dollars in annual disposable income. There is absolutely no way on earth we should have struggling businesses. Truth be told, I think we actually have everything necessary for us to move forward.
The challenge is for us to stop being so selfish … and stingy … and entitled.
It just takes love. It takes understanding. It takes forgiving. It takes patience.
My only prayer is that we come to believe in ourselves and the power the good Lord has already put inside us. I pray we cease from seeking peace from shallow places and get back to growing our spirits. All of the things in the world cannot replace common sense. We have a rich legacy, from Jackson Ward in Richmond to the Westside of Atlanta to the Eastside of Baltimore. All we have to do is just believe in ourselves and invest in ourselves. We’ve made everybody else in the world rich. Isn’t it time we did it for ourselves?